Golden Eagles coach Emmanuel Amuneke yesterday challenged Barcelona starlet Habib Omobolaji “Bobby” Adekanye to come for national U-17 screening if he is keen to play for Nigeria.
Amuneke said he would not extend automatic invitation to the player, touted the next Lionel Messi on account of his imbued talent. The Nigerian public only gleaned about Adekanye last week after the bubble burst on Barcelona for transfer of under-aged players. Adekanye is one of the 10 teenage players named to been transferred in breach of rules, causing FIFA to hand the Spanish giants a year ban from the market.
The 15- year old winger with Nigerian and Dutch dual nationality has had his potentials highlighted with media reports singling him out as one of the future players of his generation. On line reports even claimed that Messi the four-time FIFA Ballon d’or winner has even taken the Nigerian prodigy for special mentoring.
But former Nigerian international Amuneke, in an exclusive chat withTHISDAY, described the attention on Adekanye as media hype. He challenged the kid to stuff his kit bag and report for screening for a proper look in. Adekanye is eligible to play for Nigeria as he is yet to represent Holland at any level. Nigeria would require international clearance should should they in latter year decide to cap him once he has represented Holland in age grade competition. Nigerian coaches are currently holding a camp in Abuja to select a new set of players for the Golden Eaglets for the African U-17 Championship campaign in Niger leading to the FIFA U-17 World Cup also next year in Chile.
Amuneke, who himself once played for Barcelona, warned against judging a player simply on the strength of a published article. “I dont base my opinion on a player on media statement and I dont believe in all that is written about him (Adekanye).
In this team, we wont give any preference to any player because no one has an automatic shirt.If his people want him to play for Nigeria, they can bring him here for him to fight for a shirt like others and convince the coaches and Nigerians that he is a good player. We want to be fair to everyone” Amuneke said.